Unraveled, Part 8

Hi there! Welcome to the 8th week of Unraveled! This one is a little longer than some others, so make yourselves comfortable for today’s segment. :)

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Unraveled, Part 8

Rory called at five in the morning.

I was laying on the floor, feet propped on the wall, head on my beanbag, holding the shawl above me and crocheting. My eyes stung from lack of sleep and my arms were screaming in pain, but my back hurt if I sat up, since I hadn’t slept all night.

It took a minute for me to register the ringing of my phone. Then I dropped the shawl in shock, and it landed on my face. I snatched up the phone, which was sitting on my bookshelf, and looked at the caller ID. Rory White. I slid to answer it. “Hello?”

“Hello!” Rory seemed to be in good spirits. I didn’t know how anyone could function so early in the morning. “Is this Emma? Sorry, did I wake you?”

“Yeah. No, you didn’t,” I said, trying hard not to yawn. “Did you get my text last night?”

“Yes! That’s exactly why I’m calling!” I had never known anyone to use so many exclamation marks in their everyday speech. “I told you about my birthday party two years ago, didn’t I?”

I nodded. Genius, Emma, you’re on the phone. “Yeah.”

“I thought I could take you and Catherine to the place I held my party, and we could look around for clues and such!” Rory seemed so genuinely excited. But she was still a virtual stranger, even if she did seem well-meaning, and it would be pretty stupid to go anywhere with her. That was what my parents had drilled into me: Never get in a car with a stranger.

“Um,” I said, stalling for time.

My life was at stake here; if I didn’t go with her, I could die. I would bring pepper spray and my phone, and how much harm could she really do?

Besides, I was eighteen – almost nineteen – years old, and it was summer vacation. Wasn’t I supposed to do something wild? Maybe going to solve a yarn-related mystery with a fifty-year-old woman and my friend wasn’t exactly wild, but it was crazier than anything I’d ever done before. And I might not even live until nineteen if I didn’t do something about that shawl. There was really no question.

“Sounds good,” I said. “I’ll ask Catherine. Are you free today?”

***

We met at the community center, since we all knew where it was located. I brought a suitcase with me, since I didn’t know how long we would be gone. The location Rory talked about was down in Eugene, Oregon, which was about five hours from the community center in Seattle, probably more when you factored in traffic. And it was Thanksgiving weekend, which meant we could be spending a very long time on the road.

I was still excited, though. It had been years since I took a road trip – when I was thirteen, my parents drove us down to Disneyland in California. Hayden was bored out of her mind for a large portion of the drive, although she was of course younger then, but I liked the chance to read, nap, and look at the scenery. I was thinking about this as I waited for Catherine and Rory to show up.

Catherine made her appearance first, walking up the sidewalk with a green rolling duffel bumping along behind her. Her hair was pulled back in two braids that were pinned at the back, and the rest fell in dark red waves just past her chin. She was wearing a cream shirt with pastel flowers that contrasted with her black jeans. It looked like she had walked out of a springtime clothing catalogue or something, but it was November.

She saw me and waved, walking faster to get to me quicker. “Emma! All ready to go?”

“Yeah,” I said, clutching my own suitcase’s handle a little tighter. I glanced pointedly at her apparel. “How are you not freezing?”

She looked a little embarrassed, looking down at her shirt. “I dunno. I’m never cold,” she said. “Did I overdress?”

“No,” I said. “You look quite nice, actually.” Stupid! Why did you say ‘actually’? 

“Thank you,” said Catherine.  The corner of her mouth quirked upward in an amused smirk.

“You seen Rory yet?” I asked, trying to turn the conversation away from my lack of social skills.

“Yeah,” said Catherine. “I ran into her in the parking lot. She told me to go find you. Ready to go?”

I followed her down the path to the parking lot. Catherine let me go on ahead while she went to use the bathroom before leaving. I don’t know why I was surprised to see Rory shoving bags in the trunk of a bright orange Volkswagen beetle. It seemed to suit her personality pretty well. I dragged my suitcase over to her. “Hey.”

She turned around quickly. “Oh! Emma! How are you, dear?”

“Just fine,” I said. The sun was getting to the point where it blinded me, and I put up my hand to shield my eyes. “You sure you’re okay with taking us?”

“Of course,” said Rory. “I haven’t had an adventure in ages!” She pushed a suitcase a little further into the trunk. I hoisted mine up and added it to the pile. It was a tight squeeze, but all three of our suitcases fit with a little rearranging.

“You want me to drive?” I asked.

“No, that’s quite all right,” said Rory. “Maybe we can switch off, but I’m fine.” She smiled at me. “Now what are you girls going to do for seating arrangements?”

“Shotgun!” said Catherine, running to the passenger door. Rory and I laughed.

I pulled open the back door and climbed inside. There was a pile of debris on the left side, mostly knitting needles and tangled-up yarn, so I shoved it over a little so I could buckle my seat belt. Rory got in the front and started the car. I jumped as loud rap music started blaring over the radio. Rory cranked it up. “Do you mind?” she asked.

“Not at all,” Catherine said, looking back at me. I had to avert my eyes quickly so I didn’t start laughing.

Rory pulled out of the parking lot and turned onto the street, bumping over the curb in the process. “Sorry, girls!” She sped down the road, car shaking like it was going to explode.

Catherine and I exchanged a panicked look. It was clear that Rory had gotten her driver’s license a long, long time ago, and her driving skills had, shall we say, deteriorated. I gripped the arm rest, fingernails digging into the leather. Rory sped past a stop sign like the law didn’t apply to her, not even slowing down a bit.

“That was a stop sign,” I said, unable to resist.

“Hmm?” Rory’s eyes met mine in the rearview mirror. She was wearing glittery pink eyeshadow that distracted me for a minute.

“You were supposed to stop,” I said. Maybe it was bad manners to criticize her driving, but laws were made for a reason.

“Oh, that? Was that a stop sign?” Rory laughed. “Nobody was coming. They’re more of a suggestion anyway.”

My heart rate doubled like I had just fallen off a tall building. Of all the outcomes I had pictured for this outing, Rory being a reckless driver was not one of them. I found myself hoping we would run across a police officer so he could pull us over.

“Rory?” asked Catherine.

Rory wheeled the car around a corner, cutting off another driver who honked angrily, and sped up ten miles. “Hmm?”

Catherine gave a quick glance into the backseat, where I was sitting petrified with fear. “I forgot to use the bathroom before we left,” she said. “Could you stop at that gas station, please?”

I narrowed my eyes. She winked at me.

“Sure thing!” said Rory. She sounded like she was auditioning for an infomercial, she was so cheery. She made a left turn into the Chevron parking lot, narrowly avoiding killing us all by smashing into a large semi truck. I was sweating all over; I swear even my knees were sweating under my light blue jeans. “Run along and do that. Emma, do you need to go?”

I could feel my face getting hot as the attention turned to me. “Um, I’ll just step out of the car. Get some fresh air.”

Rory turned up the rap music as Catherine and I opened our doors and left.

***

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the story! Thanks for reading, and I hope you all have a fantastic day. 😀

Yarn Along

I’m linking up with the Yarn Along from Small Things, where you post a picture of what you’re knitting (or crocheting) and reading at the moment.

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Crocheting

See the white oblong thing in the picture? That’s my current work in progress.

Remember the Lunar Chronicles ball I went to in November? That was to celebrate the release of Winter by Marissa Meyer. Well, her new book Stars Above released yesterday, and she’s going on tour – and she’s coming to my city! *fangirls* 😀 You may remember I brought the four dolls in the picture to the ball; they’re Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter, which are the main characters in the Lunar Chronicles. I didn’t give them to Marissa Meyer because I was too attached to them, but since I’m lucky enough to meet her again I really wanted to crochet her something.

So! That was my long way of saying I’m crocheting Iko, Cinder’s small android friend. I looked at a bunch of different pictures of her, read the descriptions in the series, and came up with this. I’ll post the pattern when I finish her. I’m super excited to meet my favorite author (again!)…which brings me to what I’m reading!

Reading

I’m reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which is a wonderful book. The scary part is that the main character, Cath, is a lot like me…scarily so. We’re both introverted writers who are obsessed with a fandom. I’m really glad I bought this book and didn’t check it out from the library, because I’ll definitely be re-reading it. I kept hearing how good it was but didn’t read it until now, but I’m so glad I did. So: it definitely has my recommendations!

I didn’t realize the irony until now – my current crochet project is basically me fangirling over The Lunar Chronicles, and look at the book I’m reading! Heh.

***

So what have y’all been up to lately? Have you read any awesome books lately? Or what are you currently crafting? I’d love to hear! 😀

Unraveled, Part 7

Hello, lovely followers!

I’m happy to share another episode of Unraveled with you all today! I’m really excited about this story because I had a lightbulb moment yesterday about where I wanted the plot to go. I’m ridiculously excited about the new development; after I had the idea I ran straight to the computer to write it down. Then I wrote a couple thousand more words today.

I thought I knew how the story was going to end, and I thought the finished story would be around 10 parts or something. However, this new idea threw my plans off, in a good way. It’s going to be a lot of fun to write, and I hope it will be interesting to read! I’m not positive how long the story will be, but to give you a clue, my draft is about 12,000 words right now. And I’m nowhere close to being done. I don’t want to ramble on too much, but I thought you might like an update. This happened with The Yarn Wars too; it ended up being much longer than I anticipated!

But enough blather, here’s today’s segment.

[Edited Feb 1: Thank you Gayla for pointing out my mistake. I accidentally gave y’all Part 6 again! How embarrassing. Here’s the correct segment. 😉 ]

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Unraveled, Part 7

I checked my texts as I walked into my house. One unread message popped up, so I checked it. Catherine had sent a message, and I smiled.

Great job with the wrap detecting! Thanks again for the help. :) -C

“Teenager,” said Hayden’s voice.

I dropped the phone in surprise, making a snatch for it but missing, and it landed with a crack on the wood floor. I bent down to retrieve it, hoping it still worked, although that wasn’t the first time I had done that.

“You startled me!” I said, pressing the power button and holding my breath. The screen lit up, and I stood and shoved it back into my pocket. “Were you lying in wait for me or something?” She was sprawled on the couch, book in hand.

“No, I have a life,” said Hayden, rolling over and putting a bookmark in her spot. I didn’t point out that her ‘life’ consisted of reading books all day long, because I did the same thing sometimes. “But the question is, how did your class go? At the community center?”

“My class?” I stood there, confused, until it occurred to me. “I didn’t actually take a class. I just…went there to, uh, hang out. With a friend.”

“This morning you said you were taking a class,” said Hayden. She stood and walked over to me. “Which friend did you go with?”

I said the first name that popped into my head, which was “Harriet.”

“Harriet’s the girl who teased you in elementary school, isn’t she?” asked Hayden. “The pretty one?”

Darn it. I’d forgotten she was the one who teased me. That was one of the reasons I’d started homeschooling the next year. “What do you mean, the pretty one?”

“Well, wasn’t she the one that always had the parties?” Hayden sat up and set the book down next to her just as my phone buzzed. “Oh, now who’s Miss Popular?”

I pulled out my phone and read the text quickly. It was from Catherine.

Just had an idea, call me and we can discuss

“I have to go,” I told Hayden.

She sighed and snatched the phone from my hand. I made a lunge for it, but she spun away and stood on the couch, holding the phone high above her head. “Who’s Catherine?”

I jumped. She stood on her tiptoes and scrolled to the next text. “The wrap detecting? Did you tell her about it?”

“Give that back to me!” I exclaimed, leaping next to her on the couch. I grabbed her arm and wrangled the phone out of her hand. Then I stuffed it in my pocket. “That’s my personal property.”

“I helped convince Mom and Dad to get you that phone,” said Hayden. “So I think I deserve a little more credit.” She crossed her arms, still standing on the couch, which forced me to crane my neck to look her in the eye.

“That doesn’t mean you can read my texts.”

“Apparently it does.” She smirked. “But I’m insulted. You told Catherine about the wrap? Aren’t I helpful enough for you?”

My phone buzzed again. Hayden scowled.

“Of course you are,” I said. “Aren’t I allowed to tell other people?”

“I thought it was kind of a secret,” said Hayden, “since you got all mad when I was talking too loudly. In the community center.” She hopped off the couch, socked feet slipping on the wood floor.

I could have explained about Irene, Catherine’s grandma, but I wasn’t too pleased with Hayden either. I could tell whoever I wanted; it was my secret to share. “Well, maybe Catherine really is more helpful,” I said, regretting it the second it came out of my mouth.

Hayden was taken aback. Then her eyebrows furrowed, trying to cover her hurt. “Fine. Go talk to Kitty,” she said. She turned her back, scooped up the book and stalked into the back room.

My phone made another buzzing noise since I hadn’t checked my last text. I sighed, looking at the door through which Hayden had disappeared. The wrap was ruining everything: first Rory’s life, then Irene’s, Catherine’s too, and now my own. I should have gone to apologize but I figured the sooner I fixed the Briars and Roses Shawl problem, the sooner all our problems would go away.

In my room I checked my text. Catherine had written:

I thought we cld go on a search 4 the person who gave the wrap to Rory…some stalking you know 😉 and see if we can figure something out, what do you say?

That was actually a great idea, although I had no idea how we would go about it. I figured Catherine had some ideas so I called her as she’d requested.

“Hey,” she said when she picked up. “You get my text?”

“Yeah,” I said. I closed my bedroom door and sat on my beanbag chair; it made a squishing noise as I settled into it. I kicked a sock out of my way and reclined against the wall.

“Okay, so I wondered if this weekend you were free. Rory could try and dig up some information on the lady, and we can go on a hunt.” I could tell Catherine was excited even though I couldn’t see her.

“I think so,” I said, beginning to get a little excited too. A road trip sounded like fun, and even better if we could sort out the wrap at the same time. “I have tomorrow off for Thanksgiving, so I have a four-day weekend.”

“Great,” said Catherine. “You want to email Rory? Ask if she has any information?”

“I guess,” I said, opening my laptop. I typed in Rory’s email address while talking. “I don’t know if she’d have any information, though.”

“But she might have some info on the guests,” said Catherine. “It’s possible.” I could practically hear her shrugging. “Give it a try, anyway.”

“Yeah. Good thinking.”

We were silent for a minute as I typed in a quick note to Rory summarizing what Catherine and I had discussed. I sent the message. Maybe she would think it was hopeless, but I didn’t have much to lose anymore.

I wondered, again, what was going on with the shawl. When I thought about it, it sounded so stupid – how could a shawl possess me? How could a shawl be life-threatening? But when I glanced over at it, my fingers twitched and my heart beat faster, enough to make me feel a little dizzy. Before I knew what I was doing, I had snatched it up and was poking the hook through the delicate thread.

The dizziness subsided; I sank into my beanbag chair, relieved but afraid. It sounded stupid, but it was real anyway.

“Emma, are you still there?”

I realized Catherine was still on the phone, which had fallen to the floor. Luckily it hadn’t broken. I held the shawl with one hand and scooped the phone up with the other, holding it to my ear. “Yeah, sorry.”

“You okay?” I could hear the concern in her voice.

My phone-holding hand shook so hard I could barely keep it next to my ear. Staring at the shawl, I had a brief moment of tunnel vision. “I will be,” I said. “I just hope Rory gets back to us fast.”

***

What do you think? Have your suspicions been confirmed? 😉

I’m off to write some more; I hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday!

Yarn Along

I’m linking up with Small Things for her weekly Yarn Along, where you post a picture of what you’re knitting (or crocheting) and reading at the moment. Since I love both yarn crafts and reading, when I found out about the Yarn Along I knew it was something I’d love!

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Knitting

I’m currently knitting a pair of socks! It’s a scary process with the DPNs and super-thin sock yarn, but I’m taking it slowly and so far the creation is looking fairly sock-like, so that’s good. I just finished the ribbing and am working on the leg. It’s going to be a very long process, but that’s okay. I love the yarn though.

I’m using Winwick Mum’s Sockalong tutorials. I’m also taking a weekly knitting class, which is super fun. I’ll never give up crochet, but I’m planning (a little nervously) to branch out.

Reading

I’m reading A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. (Technically I finished it recently, but I haven’t really started any other books.) Fantasy is my favorite genre, and I’d heard lots of people recommend this. I wasn’t the hugest fan of her Throne of Glass series, but I might give those a re-read after I finish this one, because I really like her writing. ACOTAR is technically a young adult book but I would put it in at the higher end of that scale. However, it’s definitely going onto my list of favorite books. It has everything I love in a fantasy book, and the writing is beautiful. I read it in three days because I couldn’t put it down; there are two distinctive parts to the book, and I LOVED both halves. Completely worth the price to buy a hardcover copy. Plus, the main character has an awesome name: Feyre. The names are one of my favorite parts of fantasy books. 😉

***

What do you think of the Yarn Along? Do you fancy joining in? I’m looking forward to posting more of my recent reads and projects! :)

Unraveled, Part 6

As I was falling asleep last night, I realized I had forgotten to post the promised segment of Unraveled! My apologies. I took a knitting class for the first time yesterday, and that threw off my schedule enough that I forgot. (You will hear more about the knitting on the blog in the future!)

I’m probably going to be remodeling my blog theme in the near future, so if you see things moving around don’t panic. As always, I welcome your feedback. I will also be joining a link-up on Wednesdays, if all goes well, so stay tuned for that. There are exciting things coming up, including more writing-related posts.

Anyway, I’m excited to present you with today’s installment!

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Unraveled, Part 6

The next day dawned bright and early, and I drove, yawning, to the rec center. The Briars and Roses Shawl was nestled next to me, and every so often I reached down to touch it, just to make sure it was still there. I pulled into a parking spot next to a smart car, bouncing off the parking curb.

“We’re here,” I announced, fully aware that rather than talking to myself (which I did on a regular basis), I was talking to the shawl. “Ready to meet your previous owner?”

The shawl did not reply.

I scooped it up and made for the air-conditioned hall, which was filled but not packed with people. Catherine’s short, wavy red hair was visible from across the hall, and she looked up and waved when I entered. I waved back and wove my way through the throng of people, plunking down next to her on the couch, which was firm and not comfortable at all.

We exchanged meaningless greetings, then I bought two cups of iced tea so we would have an excuse to lounge around. I set mine on the floor and continued the next row of the shawl, Catherine watching me closely.

“That looks hard,” she said with a laugh. I smiled but kept crocheting. “You’re good at it, though. How long have you been crocheting?”

“About seven years,” I said, which did sound quite impressive. The hook pricked my finger – why was it so sharp? – and I winced.

“So did you teach yourself or what?”

“My aunt taught me when I was eleven,” I said, watching a bead of blood well up on my fingertip. “I was at a family reunion and got really bored, so I went to hang out with the grown-ups, and Aunt Lily took pity on me. I barely put down the hook for the next week.”

“I want to learn sometime,” said Catherine, and I realized it was sort of a request, or at least an opportunity. If I’d been my normal self, I would have offered to teach her. But I was caught up in the wrap, and as I wiped my finger on my jeans I gave a vague smile and went back to the yarn.

Just then Catherine nudged me and pointed to a lady who was walking around, craning her neck as if to look for someone. “Do you think that’s her?” she asked.

I studied the woman. She had bright fuchsia hair and a tan like she’d just come back from a week at the beach. She was also wearing enormous wire-rimmed glasses that looked like they belonged to Harry Potter. Her blue floor-length dress swished as she walked, and she carried a tote bag that said “I’d Rather Be Kayaking.” All together, she was nothing like I had expected, and judging from Catherine’s slack-jawed look, she felt the same way.

The lady turned and saw the wrap sitting next to me. Her face brightened and she made a beeline for our couch. I found myself sitting up straighter, as if she was my teacher. “Could you be Emma Perez?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I said, standing up. “Thanks so much for meeting me here.” We shook hands; it felt like she had broken mine. “This is my friend Catherine.” I glanced over at her.

“I hope you don’t mind I tagged along,” said Catherine, smiling sweetly.

Rory White shook her head. “Oh, of course not! I was thrilled to get your email, Emma. Truth is, I’ve been wanting to talk to someone about this wrap.”

“Do you want some tea, Mrs. White?” I said, gesturing to my untouched cup. She laughed.

“Please call me Rory. Mrs. White makes me sound too old. To tell you the truth, I’ve always hated my full name: Aurora. Too pretentious.” She made a face, then plucked the cup from my hand.

Rory pulled over a chair and sat down, facing us. “Do you mind if I take a look at this?” she asked, and I handed her the wrap. She gently fingered it, admiring the lace, like she was greeting an old friend. “I hoped I would never see this again.”

“Why not?” I asked, trying to sound casual but mentally exclaiming, Give us some answers!

“Well,” said Rory, “I got this yarn at my fiftieth birthday. For a gift. It’s quite a funny story, actually, but…” She looked up and shook her head, as if recalling something.

“I’d love to hear it,” said Catherine, and I shot her a look. We don’t have time for this. But Rory looked absolutely delighted.

“Oh, well, if you’re sure…” While she talked, she folded up the Briars and Roses Shawl with crisp, neat creases. “I wasn’t too concerned about a party, to tell you the truth. If I had my way, I wouldn’t have invited anyone – just too much hassle, and too much money! But my sister insisted. She’s always been into celebrations, but I haven’t. So we quickly slapped together a guest list. I picked a couple friends, and she invited everyone – you know, the obligatory extended family members.

“At my birthday dinner, a strange woman showed up at the door and demanded to be let in. I didn’t know who she was, but figured maybe she was one of my extended family members…you know, some second cousin once removed that I’d forgotten. I didn’t want to offend her. She was insulted she hadn’t been invited, and, well, what could I do?” Rory squeezed the shawl between her hands. “So, yes, I invited her in.”

“Who was she?” asked Catherine, who was literally on the edge of her seat.

“That’s the thing,” said Rory, “we don’t know. I asked my friends later, and they had never seen her before. We thought maybe she was just some random person from off the street, who had decided to crash a party. Or maybe she was mad. I don’t know.”

“So where does the shawl come into this?” I asked, genuinely curious now.

“It was a gift. It wasn’t until later that we realized, the stranger must have left it.”

“Huh,” said Catherine. She took another sip of the iced tea. “Do you know why?”

I had a sinking feeling that I did know why, but it was a preposterous thought: she had wanted to curse Rory.

“You know, I don’t,” said Rory. “But here’s the thing: this wrap has been really bothering me.” I perked up.

“Me too,” I said, and she smiled.

“Of course it is, dear. You posted a notice begging for help!” Rory held up the wrap for proof.

“No, not because of that.” I hesitated, and looked to Catherine for support. She nodded encouragingly. “It’s because, um, this wrap is, like, taking over my life.”

Her eyes lit up. “I know just what you mean.”

That was not the answer I had been expecting, but this simplified things. “Did you experience it too, then?”

“Well, I was never much of a crocheter,” she said, “but I watched some YouTube videos and managed to get about a row done, and – ”

I interrupted. “Did your hands go numb?”

“Pardon?” She looked confused. “My hands did tingle a bit, when I first started…is that what you meant?”

“Yes!” A piece of the puzzle seemed to clunk together in my head. “That’s it, then. This wrap is cursed!” I wished I hadn’t said that so loudly; the room quieted and heads turned toward me. I slouched and looked at my knees.

Rory laughed, and my heart sank – did she not believe me after all? “That’s an interesting theory, Emma.” Why had I made the mistake of telling her? “I have to say, it doesn’t seem out of the question.”

Something warm wrapped around my hand; Catherine was holding it up for Rory to see. I tried to pull away, but she held on. “Check out the Band-Aids,” she said, with an apologetic glance at me. “That’s what happened to her from crocheting. She’s been crocheting for seven years, and how many rows did you get done? Five?”

I nodded, curling my fingers under to hide them.

“In two weeks,” Catherine finished. “I don’t think this is going anywhere good. Rory, this is how my grandmother died – because she was so distracted with this shawl thing.”

“Briars and Roses Shawl,” I offered.

“Yeah. So, the question is, can you help us?” Catherine let my hand drop onto the gray sofa, and I clasped my hands together.

Rory paused for a long moment; I held my breath. “I don’t know what I can do,” she said, “but I’ll do my best. After all, the shawl did a number on me too. Do you wonder why I donated it? I’ve been going to yoga every day to try and forget about it. I’ve hung on for a year, but then again I only crocheted one row.”

I sighed in relief. “Thank you so much,” I said, relaxing back against the still-uncomfortable couch. “Now what do you think we should do?”

***

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Hope you’re having a fantastic day. <3

To Joann Fabrics, Yoda Goes

I got a Star Wars crochet kit for my birthday, and I was super excited. The kit includes patterns for lots of characters and yarn to make Yoda and a Stormtrooper. I started off making Yoda with the yarn included. It was so much fun to make something following a pattern. As you know, I design a lot of my own patterns, and it was refreshing to follow the directions to the letter. I didn’t have to use any creative energy, just do what was already written, and it was rejuvenating.

Anyway, I made Yoda first, then I made Han Solo because he’s my favorite character; he’ll probably appear in a future post. 😀

I also got a gift card to Joann Fabrics from my friend, and I decided to take Yoda along with me as a companion. I’ll let him tell you about it. :)

(Yoda trademarked, copyrighted, all that stuff by Lucasfilm and Disney. Please don’t sue me!)

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Looking forward to my trip, I am! Enjoying my trip in Claire’s coat pocket, I am not.

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When we walked through the doors, greeted by this we were. Stopped to take a picture, Claire did. Funny, it is, seeing all the Star Wars merchandise.

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When you pose in front of a Star Wars display, look this good, you will not!

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Wanted to find some “Yoda-colored yarn,” Claire did, so she used me as a comparison. A bit odd, this was, but she decided on this shade of Super Saver, Red Heart. Camouflaged, I felt.

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Taken in the Joann Fabrics line, this picture was. Laughed out loud, Claire did, when she saw this. Planning a blog post on the subject of Star Wars merchandise, she is. I did not get the chance to appear in this picture; in her coat pocket, I was. Good travel accommodations, it was not.

Enjoyed the craft store, I did!

***

Have you seen The Force Awakens yet? What do you think of the huge amount of Star Wars merchandise? I jumped on the bandwagon and own a mini R2D2 and a collection of Star Wars figures, not to mention all the things I’m going to crochet. I guess their marketing works. But that’s a blog post for another day. 😉

Having a good day, I hope you are!

Unraveled, Part 5

Hello! I’m especially excited to share the latest episode of Unraveled with y’all today, because it introduces a new character. I’m rather fond of her, so I’m glad you get to meet her in this segment! 😀

Also, I’m still working out some kinks with the new blog design and address, so thank you for your patience. I appreciate you pointing out anything that’s behaving oddly! And I apologize that, on occasion, my site seems to go down. I’m not sure why but I’ve been trying to figure it out. Like I said, thanks for sticking with me!

UNRAVELED-3

Table of Contents

Unraveled, Part 5

My head propped on my hands, I was fighting to stay awake when the bells rang to signal a new customer. I bolted upright and plastered a smile onto my face, just as my phone made a buzzing noise. “Hello,” I called to the customer, a red-haired teenager. “Can I help you find anything?” Yarn Emporium did attract a fair number of younger customers, so this wasn’t a surprise.

The girl let the door close behind her and walked up to the counter. I pinched my leg to try and wake myself up. “I was wondering,” she said, “if you knew anything about – well, this is going to sound weird, but about my grandmother’s death.”

That wasn’t what I had expected. I sat up straighter. The girl continued, “I’m Catherine, and my grandma was killed by walking in front of a bus – she was on the news. Irene Baker.” She saw my look of recognition and nodded. “The thing is, people think she killed herself, but that’s not true. My grandma was happy! She had a great family – not to brag – and lots of friends and….” She broke off, staring at the counter as if embarrassed by her outburst.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” I said, wishing I knew what better to say. But my thoughts were churning: could Catherine know about the Briars and Roses Shawl? “Actually, your grandmother – Irene – was here a couple weeks or so ago. Two weeks ago today, I think.”

“I know,” she said. “We were going through her things, and my mom found a Yarn Emporium receipt. It was the last place she went before she died, and I thought, well, it was a long shot, but – ”

“You thought maybe there would be some clue?” I finished.

Catherine nodded.

“Actually,” I said, “I think I can help you.” An idea was formulating. Catherine needed to figure out what was behind her grandma’s death; I needed to save myself from the same fate. “Let me just close down the shop, and we can head out for some coffee.”

Ten minutes later, Catherine was telling me about the last time she saw her grandmother.

“It was the day before the bus incident,” she said. “I went over to her house, because she’d always offered to teach me crocheting.” I cracked a small smile at this. “I remember it quite clearly, actually. She had this pink shawl draped over her armchair – ”

I produced the Briars and Roses Shawl from my bag and let it flop onto the table. Catherine’s eyes widened. “Where did you get that?”

“Irene brought it in, two weeks ago,” I said, and told her what had happened. She listened, hanging onto my every word. Then I took a chance. “Can I tell you something really weird?”

“Weirder than what’s already happened?” One side of her mouth quirked upward. “Go for it.”

I showed her my bandaged fingers – the blood had stained one of them, which gave a great effect – and she winced. I summarized the shawl situation, and she didn’t laugh.

My phone pinged again, and Catherine followed the sound, looking at my bag. “Do you want to check that?” she asked.

“Yeah, just a sec,” I said, typing in my code. I had a few texts, which were nothing exciting, but there was also a new email with the subject line ‘Rummage Sale Shawl.’ Finally! “Oh, this is good. Do you mind if I read this?”

I quickly scanned the contents. It was from a woman named Rory White, which made me smile. She informed me that she had been given the shawl as a gift – “It’s a long story,” she wrote – and had regifted it to the rummage sale. “If you want to meet me at the rec center, we can have a chat about it, but I don’t know how much help I’ll be.”

I put down the phone and relayed this to Catherine. “Do you want to come with me?” I asked. “It might be helpful.”

“Sure,” she said. “Do you want to see if she’s free tomorrow?”

I quickly fired back a reply, and Catherine and I finished our muffins. She was good company, and I was glad we had met, except for the life-or-death circumstances. I glanced over at her to find her deep in thought, studying the clouds. Probably thinking about her grandmother. Then she looked at me and caught me staring, so I smiled.

“Thanks for the outing,” she said, and smiled back. “I’ve…I think I needed that.”

“Sure,” I said. “I’m glad you came along. And I’m sorry about your grandma.”

“Thanks. Me too.” Catherine sighed. “It’s just so hard to believe. What you told me. What if it was that wrap that killed her? How is that even possible?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “But like I said, that’s what she wrote in her diary, and I’m having the same problem.”

“We’ll figure it out,” she said determinedly. “It’ll be good, you know? Making sure she didn’t die in vain.”

That was an optimistic way of putting it, and I felt hopeful for the first time in days. We sat in silence for a couple more minutes, then I picked up my bag and put the wrap back into it. Catherine and I parted ways.

***

I’m happy to leave you on less of a cliffhanger this time! As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I hope you enjoyed today’s installment. 😉

Hope you’re all having a lovely Saturday!

Plush Chicken Sweater: Free Crochet Pattern

As some of you may know, my family has a flock of four backyard chickens. Their names are Harriet, Clementine, Blanche, and Pearl, and they’re wonderful pets. My chicken, Harriet, is a Plymouth Barred Rock, and she’s a sweet, very pretty, stripey birdie. So when my mom stumbled across a plush striped hen, I was a goner.

I got a commission to crochet a sweater for another one of these hens, which I did, and now I’m sharing the pattern with you! Your mileage may vary depending on how big your plush hen (or real hen) is. Just try the sweater on the hen as you go and modify if need be. My hen is fairly close in size to the real Harriet, so I’ll hazard a guess that this would fit a real hen as well. But I’m not going to try it out. Remind me to tell you about the time I actually crocheted a sweater for Harriet. :O

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Materials

  • Size J (6.00 MM) crochet hook
  • Red Heart Super Saver yarn in yellow, or whatever color you want. Or substitute any thicker worsted-weight yarn.
  • Yarn needle

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Special Stitches

  • For the picot stitch, I used Astri from Apple Blossom Dream’s variation.

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Chicken Sweater

Ch 41.

Row 1 (WS): Sc in 2nd ch from hk and in each ch across.

Row 2: Ch 1, turn. Sc in next 5 sts. *Ch 10, sk next 10 sts*, sc in next 10 sts, rep from * to * once, sc in last 5 sts – wing holes made.

Row 3: Ch 1, turn. Sc in each st across, making 1 sc through 2 loops of each ch.

Row 4: Ch 1, turn, sc in each st across.

Row 5: Ch 1, turn. *Sc in next 6 sts, 2 sc in next st* 6 times.

Row 6: Ch 1, turn, sc in each st across.

Row 7: Ch 1, turn. *2 sc in next st, sc in next 7 sts* 6 times.

Row 8: Ch 1, turn, sc in each st across.

Row 9: Ch 1, turn. *Sc in next 8 sts, 2 sc in next st* 6 times.

Row 10: Ch 1, turn, sc in each st across.

Row 11: Ch 1, turn. *2 sc in next st, sc in next 9 sts* 6 times.

Row 12-17: Ch 1, turn, sc in each st across.

Row 18: Ch 1, turn. Work a picot stitch across.

Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing. Fold the sweater right sides together and whipstitch the sides closed. Weave in ends. Turn right side out.

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What do you think? I’m pretty pleased with how it came out, and I think I’ll make another non-commission one for my own plush hen. 😉 I hope the recipient likes her hen in a sweater!

Hope you’re all having a lovely week!

Unraveled, Part 4

Hello! Today I’m sharing another episode of Unraveled. I hope you enjoy it!

Also, posting may be sporadic for the next week or so, because I’ll be spending lots of time with family, and also celebrating my birthday. Just so you know why I might be more absent from Once Upon a Yarn than usual. (I’m still not 100% used to the new name; just a few days ago I typed cogaroocrafts into my address bar!)

I hope you’re all having a lovely introduction to 2016. Am I the only one who’s still writing 2015 everywhere? At least it’s pretty easy to fudge a ‘5’ into a ‘6’. Next year I’ll be doomed.

UNRAVELED-3

Table of Contents

Unraveled, Part 4

That afternoon, Hayden and I borrowed my mom’s car and drove to the Lancaster Community Center. Hayden was the navigator, so the car ride was one giant argument: “Turn right here!” “Here?” “No, you passed it, you idiot!” “I thought it was at the next exit.” “Turn here?” “Right. No, I told you to turn left!” “You said right!” Eventually, though, I was parking outside the building in the boiling sun.

“This way,” said Hayden, opening the door and leaping out onto the sun-warmed pavement. I followed her through the front doors into a bright, large entryway with a reception desk, cushy-looking chairs and couches, and an enormous skylight. I shivered in the air-conditioning. “So, do you want to look around or what?”

“I thought I’d just ask that person,” I said, gesturing to the green-haired girl at the reception desk. Hayden snickered. I looked at her, eyebrows raised.

“What?” she asked. “You’re just going to walk up to her and go, hey, do you know about this addictive crochet wrap that killed a person who went to this rec center?”

“No,” I said, rolling my eyes, “I’m going to ask her about the rummage sale. And way to be discreet.”

“It’s not like I bellowed it from the rooftops,” said Hayden, lowering her voice. “You sound more suspicious when you’re whispering, you know.”

“I guess, but still, I think we should keep this quiet.”

“Sure.” Hayden gave me a push and I tripped over my own foot, stumbling up to the desk.

“Hello,” said the girl, whose name tag read Hi, my name’s Eloise. “How can I help you?”

“Hi,” I said. “I just wanted to ask if you could tell me about the rummage sale?” I pulled a piece of paper out of my back pocket. It was a bit crumpled from the car ride, but when I unfolded it the writing was still perfectly legible: it was a brochure about the annual sale.

“Sure!” said Eloise, adjusting her textbook hipster glasses. “Well, it took place two months ago, so you’ve got a bit of a wait for the next one. Did you want to donate something?”

“No,” I said. “Um, I have an…aunt who goes here, and she was telling me about it.” So lame. But Eloise didn’t bat an eye. Of course, there was nothing wrong with asking about the sale, but I didn’t know how to work in the Briars and Roses Shawl without sounding weird.

“Yes, it is pretty popular,” said Eloise. “It started when LCC first opened, about, oh, thirty years ago, and it’s just taken off from there. Have you been?”

“What?”

“Have you been to the rummage sale?” Eloise twirled a strand of hair around her finger, unconsciously it seemed.

“No, I haven’t.” How to bring up the wrap? “Um.”

“Well, do you want to sign up for any classes while you’re here?” She kept the smile plastered on her face, but I could guess what she was thinking: What does this girl want?

An opening! “Yeah, actually, I was wondering if you had any yarn classes here?”

“Yarn classes.” Eloise turned her gaze down to her computer and I heard her typing. “Like fiber arts?” I nodded. “Yes, actually, we have a beginning knitting class, beginning crochet, spinning, weaving, and – ”

“Great!” I said, bringing my hand up for a thumbs-up and slamming it on the underside of the counter. Right on my bandaged finger. I bit back a shriek and forced a smile. “Actually, I’m more interested in thread crochet. Do you happen to have any classes about that?”

“Thread crochet? Hmm. I don’t think so.” The typing sounds resumed. While she was occupied, I dug in my bag and pulled out the Briars and Roses Shawl, which I set carefully on the counter.

Eloise looked up at the clanking sound from the crochet hook, and laughed. That was not what I’d expected. “Are you sure you haven’t been to our rummage sale?” she asked. I nodded, puzzled. “Because I know for a fact that this shawl was for sale there.”

My heart leapt – now we were getting somewhere! Not only did Irene Baker attend LCC, but it appeared that she’d purchased this wrap from their sale. I couldn’t wait to tell Hayden, who would probably say ‘I told you so.’ “Really?”

“Yes! We have a big yarn selection, but this was on top. I remember because of the color – that’s my favorite pink.”

“That’s nice,” I managed. “Do you know who donated this?” In an effort to not appear too nosy, I added, “I’m having some trouble with the pattern, and I’d love to ask for help.”

“I don’t know,” she said. “I’m sorry.”

What could I say now? I was saved from concocting a reply when Eloise said, “I have an idea, though. You could post something on our bulletin board, over there.” She pointed. A large, steel-gray bulletin board was tacked on the wall, and it was filled with notices, advertisements, and various papers. “It’s free.”

“Thank you!” I smiled at her. “You’ve been so helpful. I’ll do that.”

“No problem,” she said, and turned her attention back to her computer.

I scooped the wrap back into my bag, walked back to Hayden and sat next to her on the couch, which was actually quite comfortable. I would have to sign up for some classes at the community center. “Any information?” she asked.

I told her what I’d learned. She leaned her head back against the couch and thought for a minute. “So what are you going to put on the board? ‘Young Crocheter Seeks Previous Owner of Magic Obsessive Crochet Wrap’?”

“No.” My hand found its way into the bag, where I fiddled with the shawl, feeling the threads slide against each other.

“‘To The Owner of That Weird Pink Crochet Shawl Thing: Attention, I Need Your Help! I am Obsessed With This Thing!'”

“You’re not helping.” I pulled the shawl out and arranged it on my lap. I might as well crochet a little while I was waiting, I mused, until I figured out what to write. As I made the stitch, the hook brushed my injured finger and I bit my lip.

“What’d you do to your finger?” asked Hayden, glancing over at it. “Pick your fingernails again?”

“Yeah,” I said, the first time I’d ever lied to my sister (second, actually – there was the time that I dropped her toothbrush in the toilet and didn’t tell her for two weeks, then denied all evidence. But I was only eight.)

She made an indistinct grunt, and I could tell she was thinking. That was fine with me. It gave me more time to crochet. My right fingers were getting blistered from holding the tiny hook, and as I finished the row one of the blisters burst. I quickly tucked the finger under my other hand, hiding it from Hayden. Blood seeped out, and I fumbled in my bag for a Band-Aid, thankful I’d had the foresight to bring them. I had a feeling I’d go through quite a few more Band-Aids before (and if) I finished the wrap.

After I bandaged up my finger, I went back to crocheting, and Hayden walked off. Fifteen minutes (and two Band-Aids) later, she appeared with a typed sign, which she held up in front of me:

Attention, All Rummage Sale Participants!

I bought a pink crochet shawl from this sale, and I’m having trouble with the pattern!

Would the donor please email me so we can discuss where I went wrong?

REWARD of $20 if you help me make sense of this thing!

Contact Emma Perez: 
emmatheyarngirl@gmail.com

We hung it on the bulletin board next to some ‘Lost Dog’ and ‘Piano Lessons’ posters.

Then we drove home – more accurately, Hayden drove, and I sat in the passenger seat frantically crocheting. Hayden looked at me but didn’t say anything, and we rode home in silence.

Design E

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions! Since this is a first draft, there will probably be a lot of discrepancies in the storyline; if you point them out I will fix them. Thanks Mom for pointing one out last time! 😉

After I post all the segments I’ll edit it and…I don’t know what I’ll do with it, probably upload a PDF for y’all. I’m open to suggestions.

Anyway, that’s all for today; have a nice Saturday!

BB-8: Free Crochet Pattern

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe it’s 2016 already. Stay tuned for more of Unraveled next Saturday. Today I’m super excited to share a new crochet pattern with y’all!

A couple weeks ago I watched Star Wars for the first time. I know, I know, I’ve been living under a rock. The good news is I absolutely loved the movies, prequels included*, so I went to see The Force Awakens. No spoilers here, but I cried buckets and came home wanting to crochet everything Star Wars-related. So here we are!

I didn’t think I would become so fond of BB-8, to be honest. I was quite attached to R2-D2, after his large role in episodes 1-6, so I didn’t expect to like another droid nearly as much. R2 is still my favorite, but there’s something quite endearing about BB-8. I looked at a bunch of crochet patterns, but eventually I decided to create my own. I hope you enjoy it, and maybe you’ll consider crocheting your own – this is the droid you’re looking for.

And as usual – free pattern, this is. 😉

CROCHET BB-8

*What’s the deal with people hating the prequels? I respect your opinion, of course, but I honestly don’t see why so many people dislike them. I still prefer the originals, but I enjoyed the prequels too; devil’s advocate I guess. Or maybe I’m on the dark side. 😉

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Materials

  • Worsted weight yarn in the following colors: white, gray, black, and orange. I used a mix of Red Heart Super Saver, Red Heart Soft, and I Love This Yarn. As long as your yarns are the same weight, you’ll be fine. I used silver Patons Metallic for the gray color changes, which I think makes BB-8 look more droid-like. It’s on the thinner side but it worked fine for me.
  • G (4.00 MM) crochet hook
  • stitch marker

Notes

  1. Most of the pieces are worked in unjoined rounds, in a spiral, so use a stitch marker to keep track of the beginning of each round.
  2. Feel free to substitute your own color-changing techniques. If you have a perfect jogless join, go ahead and use that. Or you can follow what I did.
  3. Spike single crochet (spike sc) = Insert hook into stitch two rows below, pull up a long loop, and yarn over & pull through two loops. See pictures below.
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Body

Using white yarn for the whole thing:

Rnd 1: 6 sc in a magic ring OR ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hk

Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around

Rnd 3: *2 sc in next st, sc 1* around

Rnd 4: *2 sc in next st, sc 2* around

Rnd 5: *2 sc in next st, sc 3* around

Rnd 6: *2 sc in next st, sc 4* around

Rnd 7: *2 sc in next st, sc 5* around

Rnd 8: *2 sc in next st, sc 6* around

Rnd 9: *2 sc in next st, sc 7* around

Rnd 10-18: sc in each st around

Rnd 19: *sc 7, sc2tog* around

Rnd 20: *sc 6, sc2tog* around

Rnd 21: *sc 5, sc2tog* around

Rnd 22: *sc 4, sc2tog* around

Rnd 23: *sc 3, sc2tog* around. Stuff.

Rnd 24: *sc 2, sc2tog* around

Rnd 25: *sc 1, sc2tog* around. Add more stuffing.

Rnd 26: sc2tog around

Fasten off, sew hole closed, first adding more stuffing if necessary.

Head

Starting with white yarn:

Rnd 1: 6 sc in a magic ring OR ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hk

Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around

Rnd 3: *2 sc in next st, sc 1* around. Sl st to next st, changing to gray. Don’t cut the white yarn, you can carry it up the back to minimize weaving in ends.

Rnd 4: * 2 sc in next st, sc 2* around. Make the last sc where you slip stitched in the last round to hide the color changes.

Rnd 5: *2 sc in next st, sc 3* around. Sl st to next st, changing to white. Fasten off gray.

Rnd 6: *2 sc in next st, sc 4* around. Make the last sc where you slip stitched in the last round. Sl st to next st, changing to orange. Again, don’t cut the white yarn.

Rnd 7: *2 sc in next st, sc 11* around. Make the last sc where you slip stitched in the last round. Sl st to next st, changing back to white. Fasten off orange.

Rnd 8-12: Sc in each st around

Rnd 13: In back loops only, *sc 8, sc2tog* around until you have 9 sts remaining, sc 9

Rnd 14: *sc 4, sc2tog* around

Rnd 15: *sc 3, sc2tog* around

Rnd 16: *sc 2, sc2tog* around

Rnd 17: *sc 1, sc2tog* around. Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing. Sew the head onto the body, matching Rnd 17 from the head to Rnd 25 from the body. Weave in ends.

Cut a long piece of gray yarn and backstitch a line around Rnd 12 all the way around the head. Then backstitch a line of orange above that, but leave a space of about 10 stitches blank.

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Sensors

I’m not sure what to call these – they’re the two black eye-like things on BB-8’s head. I’m not well versed in droid terminology. 😉

Large Sensor:

Rnd 1: 6 sc in a magic ring OR ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hk

Rnd 2:  2 sc in each st around

Fasten off, leaving long tail for sewing. Sew to head.

Small Sensor:

Rnd 1: 6 sc in a magic ring OR ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hk

Fasten off, leaving long tail for sewing. I used an invisible join. Sew to head.

Cut a piece of white yarn and split it in half, so you have a thinner piece of yarn (2 plies). Backstitch a smaller white circle on the small sensor. Weave in ends.

Circles (make 4)

Again, not sure what to call these, but they’re the decorative parts on BB-8’s ‘body.’ If anyone knows what these things are supposed to be called…help! This is worked in joined rounds, and the chain never counts as a stitch.

Rnd 1: With white, make 6 sc in a magic ring OR ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hk. Sl st to first sc, changing to silver.

Rnd 2: Ch 1, make 2 sc in each st around, sl st to join. Change to white.

Rnd 3: Ch 1. Starting in same st, *sc 1, 2 sc in next st* around. Sl st to join.

Rnd 4: Ch 1. Starting in same st, *sc 2, 2 sc in next st* around. Sl st to join, changing to orange.

Rnd 5: Ch 1. Starting in same st, *sc 3, spike sc two rows below, sc in next st on current row* around. You’re basically repeating the increase round, but sticking a spike single crochet in there. Sl st to join.

Rnd 6: Ch 1. Starting in same st, *sc 4, 2 sc in next st* around. Sl st to join. Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Sew circles to body, spacing them evenly around.

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What are your thoughts on the new Star Wars movie? (I’ll be editing comments to remove spoilers; please think before you post in case one of my followers hasn’t seen it yet!) Do you have a favorite episode? Any thoughts on what character I should crochet next?

May the force be with you!

***

Disclaimer stuff: I’m not affiliated with Disney or Lucasfilm in any way, unfortunately, because that would be super cool. Please don’t sell items you make from this pattern, since neither you or I own the rights to BB-8. (Unless you do, in which case do whatever you want.) Star Wars and everything is copyrighted and I’m not making any claim otherwise. I crocheted BB-8 and wanted to share the pattern to show my (newly discovered) love for Star Wars and not for any monetary gain or Dark Side purposes. Cheers!